Should volleyball players lift weights? Pros and cons explained

Weightlifting can help to strengthen the arms, core, or legs of a player. There are several exercises and they might involve body weight or some external weights. A lot of athletes are lifting weights in sports such as basketball, football, and soccer.

They spend a lot of time with weights in the gym to make sure that their legs and upper body have a lot of muscles. Not a lot of professional volleyball athletes spend time on this though. Should they do this and what are the pros and cons of doing so? In this article, we are going to discuss this in more detail and see what I have learned after more than a decade of coaching volleyball players. 

Lifting weights: a good idea for volleyball players?

Pros of lifting weights for a volleyball player.

You can target specific parts of your body that you want to strengthen when you lift weights. For example, you can make your ankles thicker when you perform the right exercises. This can help you to make sure that they can withstand the pressure of starting and stopping the whole time. A lot of players neglect this to their own detriment.

You also learn more about your own body when you lift weights. This can help you to understand how far you can push yourself and where your limits are.

Lifting weights can help you to jump higher. This is important in attacking and defending and can therefore give you an edge. If you can jump slightly higher when you spike the ball, it is possible to add more effect to the ball. If you can jump higher when you block, you can make it more difficult for the other team to score a point. Therefore lifting weights can help you in offense and defense.

It is also possible to add more force to the ball if you serve or spike when your upper body is more muscular. There are limits to this as you still need to aim the ball inside the court of the opponent so you can’t hit the ball too hard. You still need to use the right technique so that you can aim the ball in the right direction. 

More and more professional volleyball athletes see the advantages of weight lifting and they are spending more time on it because they see advantages of doing so. Volleyball players are not bodybuilders but having some additional strength can have its advantages. If you have too many muscles, it will be harder to complete a long match as they need energy.

This means that you have to find the right balance between having not enough muscles and too much. This can be hard to do and you might have to experiment with several training schedules and see what works for you. Don’t expect results in the first week as it takes some time before you see results of lifting weights. A lot of people get impatient and quit soon after this. 

Players that are nearing the end of their careers might need to strengthen certain parts of their bodies as they have to deal with a lot of strain over time. Lifting weight can help them to overcome some issues that they have. This needs to be done with the advice of a trainer so that they perform the movements in the right way. 

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If you have a big body, you can intimidate the players of the other team. They can get nervous when they have to counter your attack when they see that you are strong.  

Cons of lifting weights for volleyball players: 

Volleyball is not a contact sport. Therefore you don’t have to push players off the other team away. This is one of the main reasons why basketball players or football players lift weights. They are able to leverage their wider upper body in duels. This is not relevant in volleyball as each team is on another side of the net and you are not allowed to cross the line that runs below the net. 

Lifting weights also could lead to problems if you do it wrong. This could be terrible as it can hold you on the sidelines for several months. 

Lifting weights also takes up a lot of time. This could be spent on repeating the same drills or on working with a team member to improve your technique. 

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During a busy volleyball season, your body might be exhausted and there might not be enough energy left to lift weights. We can track this using sports watches and advanced tests. Professional teams have a set of specialists working on this to make sure that the players don’t push themselves too hard. 

 Players might want to focus on the basics first as volleyball is a complex sport with a lot of rules and regulations. You need to be able to perform the basic 5 volleyball skills before you can start thinking about adding other drills and exercises

Some players just don’t like doing these types of drills as they prefer to work with a ball. Volleyball players often enjoy the feeling of working with a ball and not being able to do so might feel tedious. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to this.

To conclude, we can state that there are several pros and cons of lifting weights as a volleyball player. There are limits as to how much time you should spend on this as you have to work on other drills at well. Lifting weights can help you to jump higher and add more power to the ball and avoid injuries. If you know what you are doing, it could be worth it to spend a few hours every week lifting weights. Volleyball is not a contact sport so your body shouldn’t be too muscular as you don’t have to push away opponents but it can have its advantages to work with weights. You can check with your coach to see what he or she recommends.